ICE Changes Detention Policy

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has announced that it is cancelling a program which would allow some specifically trained state-level law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law. On December 21, ICE released a statement that it would not to renew its standing agreements with local and state law enforcement agencies that oversee task forces under its 287(g) program. ICE stated that there are other enforcement programs, such as “Secure Communities,” as a more efficient use of resources, with a focus on priority cases.

In 2009, the Obama administration instructed state and local law officials to view illegal immigrants as a lower priority, establishing tiers of concern and prioritization for detention and arrest, which effectively weakened the 287(g) program. Priority for detention and arrest include illegal immigrants who are deemed a national security threat, who have broken criminal laws, who have repeatedly violated immigration law, or who are considered immigration court fugitives. ICE has recently also issued a policy which restricts detainment of suspected illegal immigrants arrested and/or convicted of petty offenses, including minor traffic violations. ICE uses a system of detainers to identify and start deportation proceedings on illegal immigrants currently convicted and serving time in jails and prisons.

As envisioned, federal officials as part of Secure Communities determine when and if to enforce immigration actions. Since 1996, ICE has overseen 21 states with more than 1,300 officers trained in 57 active 287(g) partnerships.

According to ICE statistics, it deported almost 410,000 people during the 2012 fiscal year. More than 95 percent of those deported were in high-priority categories, states ICE.
More than 50 percent of those individuals were convicted of misdemeanors or felonies. Of those criminally convicted individuals who were deported, more than 95,000 were tagged as repeat immigration violators or fugitives, while almost 70,000 had just recently crossed the border illegally. More than 1,000 of them were convicted of homicide and more than 5,00 had sexual assault convictions.

Under the new ICE guidelines, priority detention includes an individual who has a prior felony conviction or has been charged with a felony, has three or more prior misdemeanor convictions (if in tandem with another detention issue), or has a misdemeanor due to assault, drug dealing, violence, sexual abuse, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, immigration fraud, or is considered a significant risk to national security or border security or to public safety.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at